Tuesday, December 9, 2008


A very easy charcuterie item to make and a necessity to any charcuterie plate. Two favorites of mine to make are rabbit and pheasant. The key to a good moist rillette is cooking low and slow. 
I use duck fat as its readily available from one of my suppliers. The first step is to salt cure whatever meat you are using for 12 hours. With something as lean as a bird or rabbit i usually add some cubed back fat or pork belly to help keep it moist and bump it up with some cubed pork shoulder. My salt cure is done by eye and if i had to guess its probably 2/3 salt to 1/3 sugar along with any aromatics i think would go well with the meat.  For the rabbit, i saute off some apples and pears and flambe them with some good gin. A little toss of sugar to lightly caramelize helps too for a bit of added sweetness. For the pheasant, i add chopped up dried apricots or cranberries and both rillettes receive a bit of fresh tarragon. I generally stick to traditional spice mixtures like nutmeg, cinnamon, mace
 and clove. Once cooked very slow and low in duck fat, the meat is strained, and then begins the meticulous process if picking out all those annoying little bones. Once the bones are removed, i use two forks to shred the meat. Once the meat is shred
ded, i add ay dried fruit and begin incorporating the duck fat with a wooded spoon back into the meat a bit at a time. You dont want to beat the fat into it while its piping hot, luke warm is good because you essentially want to emulsify the fat into it  similar to making a mayo. Not enough fat and your rillette will be dry, too much and it will be all fat. Adding things like yellow mustard seeds are always fun as they will bloom a bit and become palatable with the finished product. The tarragon or fresh herb of your choice should be thrown in last minute so it doesn't discolour. Line a terrine mold with saran wrap and pack your mixture into your mold. U
se some cardboard cut to fit on top and weight the terrine down and into the fridge to chill. 12 hours later you should have a creamy fatty terrine ready to be sliced and served room temp with a bit of sea salt. One thing i should mention is that it is meant to be served cold or room temp, so when seasoning make sure you over salt while warm. Enjoy!


Larbo said...

Glad to see you still have time and energy to post! I love the inventiveness of your recipes and your willingness to share them.

When you have a chance, I'd love to hear more about how you got into charcuterie, what was most useful in learning this neglected craft, where your inspiration comes from -- other than looming deadlines!

ntsc said...

My wife made the error of giving me Charcuterie for Xmas one year. My wife kevetchs a lot but does like going: 'Would you get me a pound of chorizo?.

Answer: 'Which one?'

The rillette's look awesome, perhaps I'll try on. I know where I can get rabbit and I've a source, albeit distant, or game birds.

Unknown said...

it all started with a chef i worked under for several years who taught me how to make chorizo sausage, and then we let some hang for longer until we could eat it raw. from that day forward i had an interest and eventually just began teaching myself and plaing around when i could with scrap meat.
i tried a lot of the traditional cured meats. some were great, some were mediocre. then i bean really trying to understand and record my findings at which point i tried playing around with different combinations.
We used to do a lot of molecular gastronomy type foods which was fun, but my interest was kept in this art of patience and tradition.

AC said...

my friend andrew has been singing your praises ever since he ate there a few months ago - this rillettes recipe sounds not so hard to do. definitely on my list to try. and, when i make it up to toronto i definitely want to try yours in person!

Unknown said...

Rillettes is a preparation of meat similar to pâté. Originally made with pork, the meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. They are normally used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature.

Rillettes are also made with other meats, goose, duck, chicken, game birds, rabbit and sometimes with fish such as anchovies, tuna or salmon.
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